7 Tips To Extend Your Audience Via Social Media [Research]
Social media shares, often referred to as earned media, extend your potential audience in a measurable, cost effective way.
3 Reasons to use social media shares
Enabling your audience to share your quality content and other information, void of promotion, via social media supports your marketing efforts. Specifically it allows you to:
- Engage actively with your community. Use social shares as the basis for interaction. At a minimum, thank followers for sharing your content.
- Gain trust by association with influencers when they and others share your information. Understand that your influencers, customers, and competitors are constantly seeking important content to curate.
- Spotlight your content on third party sites. Share commentary, photos, videos and presentations posted on social media and other sites.
Social media sharing research
Social media sharing remains healthy across 8 different social networks based on Shareholic data. Since these charts are based on aggregate data from a changing base of sites, trend lines are more important than the specific numbers. Due to the small bases, the percentage changes appear larger. With the exception of Facebook and Pinterest, shares appear relatively consistent.
- Facebook shares grew significantly during 4Q2013. (Note: These results are consistent with those of competitor AddThis. As the largest social media network, Facebook should have the highest quantity of social media shares. The unanswered question is: “How does Facebook’s number of shares relate to the size of its user base?” While Facebook’s user base grew during 2013, teens don’t think it’s cool. Further, don’t underestimate that most sharing buttons list Facebook first. Stay tuned—because, while Facebook continues to be the 800 pound gorilla of social media, it’s no longer where the cool kids spend their time!
- Pinterest also grew significantly during 4Q2013. Pinterest is the couch surfing, lean back, social media platform of choice. Since Pinterest is correlated with purchase, it makes sense that usage increased during the peak holiday shopping season.
Interestingly, printing (on paper) was consistently one of 2013′s top 5 sharing services according to AddThis. Think reader utility and needs, not vanity shares!
Social media share bottom line:
- Your social media share results may vary based on your specific content and target audience. Therefore, create a marketing persona to understand the information they need and where they’re seeking it. Then track your results.
- Don’t rely on vanity numbers such as shares. Look at visitors, time-on-site and actions.
7 Actionable social media sharing tips
Here are 7 actionable social media sharing tips to incorporate these research findings into your 2014 plans.
- Build on your own media. Establish and regularly publish fresh quality content on your own channels. Given the power for linking and social sharing, I recommend putting a blog at the heart of your content marketing plans.
- Develop other owned communication channels. At a minimum, build your email list. (BTW—we’d be really pleased if you’d sign up for our emailings!) It’s an important way to keep readers returning to your content.
- Think old school – let them print it. While this may upset the eco-minded among us, the reality is that members of your audience may want a hard copy of your information. It’s their choice – if they like paper, they’ll just use their browser’s print function. So make it easy for them.
- Forget putting your social media shares on autopilot. Would you let your computer talk to your customers and employees? If not, then why are you doing that on social media??? Hand-craft your social media shares. Your audience can tell the difference.
- Place your social media share buttons at multiple locations. Understand that readers may want to read your content before they share it with their social media colleagues. Don’t make them work to look for ways to share it once they’re at the end of your article. Using a sliding social share bar eliminates this problem.
- Make your images pinnable. Add a “Pin This” button to your images. Since this is the year of visual content, this step is important.
- Add a contextually relevant call-to-action. Don’t assume that readers will automatically share your content. Ask them and make it easy for them.
Add social sharing to your content across channels to expand your reach. But don’t assume that it’s a set it and forget it strategy. You must monitor the activity on your site regularly to determine what works to maximize your results.
How do you use social media sharing functionality and what have your results been?
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According to research by Nielsen, 70 percent of global consumers trust online consumer reviews and rate reviews as the second most trusted form of advertising. And according to BazaarVoice, when it comes to trust, marketers may as well eliminate their own brand websites as a fountain of customer trust as only 16 percent of US consumers said they trust the content on a brand's website compared to the 51 percent who trust content generated by other users.
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